What do you do when your own family members think an Aspie diagnosis is silly, that my sons issues are due to my parenting?
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Marie - posted on 07/14/2012
You know, my 4.5 yr. old son was diagnosed in March with High Functioning Autism, Possible Asperger's that will be re-evaluated when he's older. My own family members denied this diagnosis and acted like we were stupid for accepting it. I mean, he qualified for services immediately through the schools, and he's improving some already, but it hurt my feelings a lot, because we really needed their support when he was diagnosed. It changed our lives a lot, and to deny the diagnosis was disrespectful to us and to him, and I felt it wasn't supportive at all.
I just learned to talk to people who could offer positive, warm support to us and who understood what we all were going through. It affects the whole family. I have two older boys also, one with ADD, and our home is chaotic to say the least, and I surround myself now with people who encourage me and support us as a family. If certain family members can't do that, then their time talking with us and interacting with my son is limited. I won't have my children around people who think they're just un-disciplined brats who need to be spanked. It's too negative for me and not supportive.
You know what your son's issues are, and you do whatever it takes to help him succeed. If you have to distance yourself from certain people until they can learn how to be supportive, then so be it in my opinion. If they really love you and your son, they will learn about Asperger's and want to understand what you all are going through. I have found more support and friendship from other parents with kids on the spectrum, and that makes our lives much easier than constantly dodging family's comments and criticisms. Good luck, and this forum is awesome! I'm so glad I found it. You have a whole community in your corner, and it's nice to know that! From one ASD Mom to another-focus on the positive people in your life, including online forums! If it had not been for a wonderful Mom who has a son with Autism immediately step in and offer advice, support and a warm, listening ear, I would have flipped out at first. I felt so lost and heart broken at first, and lonely....it's a lonely experience at times because you tell people what the disability is, and they just look at you like you have the plague...it's sad really! But, I have a good support system now of other parents and online supports. You have to find that for yourself and for your son!
Tina - posted on 07/11/2012
Emotional distance. Those are the perfect words. What I've learned is that I can't go to family for emotional support. when "advice" or "their thoughts" come up. I tune them out. It's still frustrating, but I don't know how else to handle it. My Phycologist tells me that how I'm doing things is right. I know my boys the best. I research and ask questions about medication, behaviors, school, etc. I have to remember I'm their mom, and doing whats best for them. Other moms like yourself have been a huge help, I wish I had found circle of moms years ago!
Julie - posted on 07/10/2012
Know that you are not alone with this. Many moms spend years hearing how they ought to do a better job parenting, but with an aspie or HFA the kids can look so darn good, just naughty, or like they are a pain in the butt. I have heard it all recently, and it I should know better. My oldest has autism but my younger was just diagnosed last month with autism spectrum and I was shocked, because I always thought he was defiant, difficult, naughty, etc. Viewed next to his sister he is definitely more normal but after we started counseling and the MD RELUCTANTLY got me to do some screening assessments, I was shocked to find out how high he scored, so it shouldn't be shocking me now that family and friends are accusing me of permissive parenting, being a pushover and getting manipulated. I have been trying to work for years on having thick skin. Can't let the uninformed opinions irritate or hurt you. No one can really know what it is like to care for and life with our kids until they live in our shoes, so they shouldn't presume to pass judgement on us our our children. If you can't get emotional support, then aim for emotional distance
Marie - posted on 07/07/2012
I have learned to ignore my family. Some family members over the years have educated themselves regarding my sons condition and that made them more understanding, but I have a brother that, no matter what you tell him or show him, he believes my sons autism is my fault and that I treat him like a dog, and this is from a guy that hasn't spent any significant amount of time with me or my kids in several years.
My son does some pretty strange things and I can't help but giggle sometimes, so I don't care if other people do. It's the finger pointing and the judgements about my parenting that get on my nerves, so I have learned to ignore it. I let my brother run his mouth, but I know deep down that he doesn't know what the heck he is talking about. Peace and strength to you.
Helen - posted on 07/06/2012
Might be a long shot but try getting them to read the book all cats have aspergers syndrome. It makes it simple for them to draw comparisons. Good luck, I know it's hard work. Just remember your not wrong!
Danielle - posted on 07/06/2012
I can relate!
For over a year before my son got an official diagnosis my family was convinced his behaviours were a result of lazy parenting.
It was as frustrating as hell.
Both my sister, and mother would say cruel things like "You need to discipline him!", "He only acts that way because you let him".."He is just an only child!" "You baby him".. ect, ect.
When I tried to convince them that he was showing signs of Autism they would say things like "Stop! There is nothing wrong with your child!" basically making an assumption that I was looking for excuses, and not putting the blame where they were convinced it belonged (on me).
Everyone thought he was just a brat, and he just needed "a good spanking".
It was a very depressing time. At this point he was 3 and couldn't talk, didn't imagination play, had horrible meltdowns, and would hit himself violently and throw himself on the floor if a stranger came to close to him. I have no idea how they expected us to discipline him into understanding what we were saying to him, or to discipline him to be comfortable around strangers..
I finally just printed a sheet off the web outlining Autism and the symptoms. I brought it over to them one afternoon. I sat them down and went through all the symptoms, and I clarified what he would do to fit the description of the symptom, and why he fit the diagnosis.
I think the biggest thing that they struggled to understand is that Autism is a spectrum disorder!
Even after showing them more concrete proof, they still had reservations over if I was just overreacting. Eventually we enrolled him in a 6 week, diagnostic, class where there a group of 5-6 specialists review and monitor the children to make an official diagnosis.
In the end, we did get the diagnosis, and we were allowed to bring family members to the conference outlining the results of the professionals.
To have everyone on the same page, I invited my sister, my mother, my grandmother, and my fathers wife. That way there was no "he said, she said" with the people who were sceptical of the diagnosis. Everyone who thought we were shitty parents got a proper review of what was happening, and why our son is the way he is... there is no arguing with the professionals.
Anaquita - posted on 06/21/2012
I have the opposite with family. They don't doubt the diagnosis one bit. Helps that my son had some pretty obvious full body stimming when younger, and my cousin's long term girlfriend is a special education teacher. However because of the diagnosis, a good portion of my family wants nothing to do with us. Not all, but a sizable amount. The way I see it, is if they can't open their minds, hearts, and be supportive..... well family isn't always about blood, but by those who will stand with you.
Tina - posted on 06/21/2012
Thank You so much, I needed to hear that. It's frustrating enough dealing with the public or teachers who are supposed to know, but family members who should be there to listen, are just blaming me and making things worse. So much so , that we can't be around them. So Thanks!!
Dori - posted on 06/21/2012
hmmmm punch them in the nose ???j/k we went through that with my son will doing the dx process I had lots of ppl thinking he was just being a brat or say thing like oh my 2 year old has tantrums too and i'd just reply "really and does your son through himself into walls and smash his head on the floor for 20 mins at a time " andf they just look at you blankly . Its a tricky world when our child gets theses dx awareness is growing unfortunastly not as fast as the rate of how many children are being dx i come from a large family and we personally get 99% of our support from online groups mostly facebook it sucks but most ppl have no idea what we as parents have to go through on a daily basis just for our kids to have a "normal " life and how much time and work we put into it . so i say stay strong tina your not alone and slowly but surely they may come around maybe check out the Miracle Project on youtube i found it very insperational and gives a person a bit of insignt into what our kids that span the whol;e spectrum deal with on a daily basis ... sorry i know long winded lol hope this helps a bit